The Central Information Commission on Monday issued notices to the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and Bahujan Samaj Party asking them to furnish details of action taken by them to implement the Right to Information Act as per the Commission’s order. The CIC gave the six political parties four weeks to submit their replies.
The Commission’s order came in response to a representation by RTI activist Subhash Agrawal seeking compliance of its earlier order asking the political parties to implement the RTI Act.
The CIC, which is a quasi-judicial body on matters relating to the RTI Act, in June last year had declared that the parties were “public authorities” under the RTI Act arguing that they were “substantially funded” indirectly by the Central Government. It had given them ten weeks to implement the law by appointing Public Information Officers to respond to RTI queries, but so far none of the parties has followed the CIC direction.
“It is directed that the detailed comments on the said representations received from Mr. Agrawal and the details of the action taken on the directions contained in the Commission’s order of June 3, 2013, may be furnished to the Commission within four weeks,” the CIC said in its notice issued to the parties.
The full bench of the commission, comprising the then Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Information Commissioners M.L. Sharma and Annapurna Dixit had declared on June 3, 2013, “We have no hesitation in concluding that the INC/AICC, the BJP, the CPI (M), the CPI, the NCP and the BSP have been substantially financed by the Central Government and, therefore, they are held to be public authorities under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.”
The Commission then directed the presidents and general-secretaries of the six political parties to designate Central Public Information Officers and the Appellate Authorities at their headquarters in six weeks and to respond to RTI queries in the next four weeks. The CIC had also directed the parties to comply with the provisions of mandatory proactive disclosure by putting those details on their websites. But none of the political parties followed the order so far.